Friday, October 7, 2016

DIY Magnetic Pizza Math

DIY Magnetic Pizza

 DIY Magnetic Pizza

Pizza is a favorite with many people. Why not capitalize on this love, by building learning centers around pizza! I love to create with my hands, so I decided to create magnetic pizzas that we can use for dramatic play, math activities and so much more.

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If you haven’t heard of subitizing before, it is the ability to instantly identify a number of objects.  There is perceptual and conceptual subitizing.  I found a wonderful article by Douglas H. Clements that explains the concepts more fully.  Click here to read, “Subitizing: What Is It? Why Teach It?”
The gist is that perceptual subitizing is the ability to recognize an amount of objects immediately.  Conceptual subitizing involves more complex thinking.  People are able to use patterns and parts to come up with a number.
 Here is an example using the pizza manipulative.  After looking at the pizza in the picture.  My daughter (4 years old) is immediately able to tell me that there are two toppings on the pizza.  She used perceptual subitizing to identify the amount of 2.
When we add more toppings, the subitizing becomes more difficult.  Here she used conceptual subitzing to identify the total number of toppings on the pizza.  She grouped the toppings by type.  2 pepperoni and 3 mushrooms.  She then held up her fingers and added them together.  By grouping the two types of toppings, she was able to easily “find” the number.  It created two small groups, instead of requiring her to count every topping.
These are techniques that are easy for kids to practice and will help them build strong number sense.
You can create your own magnetic pizza manipulative to use with your students.  I created two different types of pizza manipulatives to use.  Pick whichever pizza you are comfortable creating.
Version #1- The pizza is painted directly on the pizza sheet from the dollar store.
–  Round metal pizza pan from the dollar store
– Spray paint (I used Krylon Paint + Primer) You need this to stick to the metal, so you can paint on top of the pizza pan.
–  Acrylic Paint (I used Butter, Tuscan Red, and Golden Brown)
– Paint Brush
– Magnetic Tape for the back of the toppings
This pizza was very easy to create!
1. Spray paint your pizza pan with white spray paint.  Spray paint the whole pan.
2. Paint the crust after this dries.  Take the light brown paint and paint a brown circle.
3.  After the crust dries, you will take the red paint and paint the sauce inside the brown circle.
4. After the sauce dries, you will paint the whole inside of the pizza yellow.  This is the cheese.
You are done!  You can paint a varnish or some type of sealant over the finished product.  It will help the paint last longer.
Version #2- You will need rectangular, metal cookie sheet from the dollar store and a pizza template.
– Rectangular, metal cookie sheet from the dollar store
– Pizza dough template (you can get mine here)
–  Tape
– Magnetic tape for the back of the toppings
Version #2 is even easier.
 1. Print out a pizza dough template.  You can get mine in the Pizza Pack here.
2. Laminate for durability and tape to the cookie sheet.
You are done!  Print or cut out toppings and your pizza is ready to go!
You can use this pizza manipulative during your calendar time, as part of a warm-up, a mini lesson, as a partner game, or any spare time that you have during the day.  You can flash the pizza while students are lining up, while waiting for specials, or any transition time.  It keeps students engaged and learning during often “wasted” time.
I put the toppings in small containers, but you could use plastic baggies and Velcro them to the back of the pizza pan.  This will make the whole thing portable.
You will choose the topping that you would like to use.  I usually do no more than 5 of one type of topping.  Place the toppings on the pizza.  You will want to group the like toppings together.  This will allow students to group and identify the toppings more easily.
Flash the pizza quickly and have students identify the number of toppings that they saw.
You can have students show their answers in a variety of ways:
– Hold up fingers to how many toppings.
– Verbally say how many toppings they saw.
– Draw the toppings on the extension worksheets.  There are worksheets with large pizzas that take up the whole page and worksheets with multiple pizzas on the same page.
You can also use this manipulative as a partner game.  It’s a great center game.  Students will play this the same way as in a teacher directed game.  One partner will flash the toppings (I might set the limit of 5-10 toppings).  The other partner will express their answer verbally or on a recording sheet.
Use the whole page recording sheet or multiple pizza worksheets (laminate or place in a sheet protector for use with a dry erase marker).
There are also extension sheets to create their own pizza and record the total number of each topping.
 There are also extension sheets called “Roll & Create”.  Students will roll the die and record the same number of toppings on the line.  Draw the matching toppings on the pizza.  Record the total number of toppings on the sentence.
And extension worksheets to identify a numeral and draw the matching number of toppings on the pizza dough.
Use this manipulative as part of a role playing game.  One student can call on a phone (use a real phone for more fun!) and the other will “answer” a phone at the pizza shop.  This is a great way to teach phone etiquette and personal social skills (emphasize greeting and polite conversational skills).
There are so many fun ways to use this manipulative to excite and engage your students.  For more subitizing ideas click here.
Thanks so much for joining me!  I hope you find lots of uses for this pizza manipulative!! Check out this post on my blog to get directions for Brick Pizza Oven made out of a box!
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Laura from Differentiation Station Creations

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Quick & Easy Bat Puppets

Quick & Easy Bat Puppets!

DIY Quick & Easy Bat Puppets

Get ready for Halloween with these quick and easy bat puppets! Kids can create them in a few minutes, for tons of bat-tastic fun!bats2

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Looking for a quick and easy project that your kids can create this fall? These bat puppets are sure to add just the right amount of crafty fun to your bat unit. Kids can use these bat puppets in dramatic play, to act out stories, poems, or math problems. Since they created the bats, they seem to take great pride and interest in the bats. I’ve even had kids ask to use the bats to work on fluency. Your whole class may want to “Read it like a bat…”Quick & Easy Bat Puppets

MaterialsMaking bat puppets

  • Card stock or construction paper (at least 2 colors)
  • 2 Popsicle sticks or tongue depressors per bat
  • 2 googley eyes per bat
  • Glue
  • Tape

DIY- Quick & Easy Bat Puppets

These bat puppets are unbelievably easy to make.

quick and easy bat puppets

Step 1:

First, gather your supplies and print out the bat template (if desired). I drew my own bats freehand, but I tried to recreate the wings and head for you on the computer. Since I don’t have any fancy software to create clip art, I used the handy shapes in Publisher. Feel free to create your own bat shapes!


Step 2:

After cutting out a template for the bat’s head and body, you will provide these templates to students. The kids will then use the sample to trace the bat shapes.


When tracing the bat’s wings, fold the paper in half. Make sure the middle of the wings are placed over the fold of the paper, so your wings will open and flap.


Step 3:

Then, glue the bat’s head in the middle of the wings. And glue or draw eyes on the bat’s head.picture5

Step 4:

Flip the bat over and tape a popsicle stick to the bottom of each wing. picture6 Now, you are ready to play! Kids can hold on to each popsicle stick and flap the bat’s wings.picture9

Looking for some more bat activities?

Check out my Grab & Go Portable Word Walls and Little Books: Bat Edition and the FREE companion pack!

Grab & Go Portable Word Walls batss









Use the word cards for sorting, exploring a concept, identifying bat characteristics, writing, word classification, and so much more!

bats batts3









Sort bat characteristics with these differentiated charts. There are charts with and without pictures, as well as, open ended charts.








Use the “Going Batty” poetry pack to explore ordinal numbers and following directions!

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Tons of opportunities for hands-on learning!









Students can practice identifying upper and lowercase letters, as well as, identifying letter sounds with this engaging “Roll, Say, Keep” game!  See “Roll, Say, Keep” in action here.







Hope you found some fun bat ideas to use with your kids! What are some of the bat activities you use with your kids? I’d love to hear about them!

Laura from Differentiation Station Creations

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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Preschool Conference 2016

I was lucky enough today to present at an early childhood conference! This is a quick post to provide a link to my hand-out for all the wonderful people that attended the workshop. This is a resource with tons of hands-on ideas to enhance learning!  The resource will be updated in the next week, so be sure to check back for more ideas.

Click here to get your copy of the resource.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Alphabet Road Race

There is nothing better than watching a child learn through play. Hearing children beg to play with learning games keeps me creating! One of my all time favorites is any game with matchbox cars! I particularly love using interactive mats where kids can practice letter and numeral formation while "driving" along. So. Much. Fun.
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In the olden days, I made these mats with construction paper, white crayon, and lots of cutting. With my trusty clip art and fonts, now I can whip out the mats with the push of a button!
 I love technology. I have to thank KB3Teach for the fantastic Bus Route font. I requested that she create a font that would work for transportation themed mats and this amazing font surpassed all my imaginings!
I love to have materials with lots of options. I like a lot of bang for my buck :)  So, I wanted to make a large and small set of Road Race Letter Mats. 

Use Larger Mats In A Variety Of Ways

Include toy cars to practice letter formation and letter identification.

Include dry erase markers to trace the letters.

Include play dough.

Use Small Cards In A Variety Of Ways

Take with you during transitions to practice letter identification or letter sounds.

Put on a ring and students can trace with fingers, play dough, or dry erase markers.

Include large and small mats in your block center to add a literacy component!

You can pick up my Alphabet At Work pack in my TPT store. I've included both color and black and white for all of the cards, so you can use the option that works best for you!
Want more activities to use with your toy cars?  Check out ZOOM: Addition Center with Dominoes & Dice.
Use the car manipulatives provided or use toy cars. An engaging way to learn and practice addition.
There are also 2 transportation versions of an addition BUMP-like game. Roll 2 dice, find the sum, and drive your car into the parking space with the matching numeral. Get the Back To School edition here

 Get the fun transportation edition here!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Wild About Sharks + Freebie

Get Wild About Sharks With Freebies, Ideas, and Resources

All of the fun shark content has moved to my new blog. Head over to find all of the shark freebies, ideas and resources.
I have a ton of shark facts and activities for you! All the shark activities, freebies, and ideas are over on  my new blog.

Head over and find some fun shark activities! If you have any requests, please email me. I am always glad to create something that will really work for you in your classroom!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Quick and Easy Tabletop Anchor Chart Stands!

DIY Tabletop Chart Stand
DIY: Tabletop Chart Stand directions have moved to my new blog. Head over to to see the easy step-by-step instructions.
Looking for DIY: Mini PVC Chart Stand? You will find the easy step-by-step PVC directions here.

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